Virgil van Dijk rose above Brandon Williams – 25 centimeters lower – as an adult would do on a baby. On leaving a corner kick taken by Alexander-Arnold before the quarter-hour game, the center beat its stout score and headed 1-0 with solvency. When later, in full celebration of Liverpool’s victory against United they asked him how he had been, the hero shrugged: “I had always been marked by the strongest uncles in the opposing team’s air game but …”
Alisson, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, A. Robertson, Virgil Van Dijk, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Lallana, min. 65), Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Roberto Firmino (Divock Origi, min. 82) and Mane (Fabinho, min. 82).
De Gea, Harry Maguire, Nilsson-Lindelöf, Shaw (Diogo Dalot, min. 86), Brandon Williams (Mason Greenwood, min. 74), Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Matic, Daniel James, Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira (Mata, min. 73).
1-0 min. 13: Virgil Van Dijk. 2-0 min. 92: Salah.
Salah (min. 93),
From Gea (min. 24),
Shaw (min. 71) and
Matic (min. 7).
This time was the exception. Maguire, the powerful United captain, was elsewhere, battling with Joe Gomez, in the play that opened the way for Liverpool’s 39th unbeaten successive game at the Premier.
The mistake disrupted United’s plan, which went to Anfield with five defenses ready to close the fearsome bands of his rival. Solskjaer’s plan was to resist waiting for the game’s hazards to propitiate the occasion to take advantage of a third-party fault. This lost meaning when Van Dijk paired with Williams. The 1-0 triggered a crisis. For half an hour the visiting team lived at the edge of the disaster. Goals annulled to Wijnaldun – out of play – and Firmino – for lack of Van Dijk over De Gea – showed the disbanded.
Steve McManaman said that for scousers, everyone who came from the nameless city located east of the port of Liverpool came from “the forbidden zone.” If the invaders, in addition, appeared in Anfield uniformed with the shield of United, the thing became gloomy. They were other times, of course. It was the days of the Ferguson Empire. A buried time that, however, this Sunday did not reduce the excitement of the fans, who appeared noisier than usual to witness the most historic classic of English football. Hoping to see a crush. A vindication in the form of a win that Van Dijk’s goal and the onslaught that happened seemed to confirm.
Liverpool took over the situation with that mixture of energy to press and ingenuity to combine with judgment and daring that it is already his seal. It is not easy to combine thrust and subtlety. This team gets it often. Klopp had asked the day before: “We will be completely different animals.”
The coach remembered the last blur on the Liverpool calendar. Precisely the visit to Old Trafford, settled with 1-1 on October 20. It was the last time Liverpool lost points in the Premier. As if all the players were aware of that, they went on the field transformed. Especially, after the break. They locked up their opponents and followed the bombs on De Gea: Henderson, Oxlade, Mané, Salah …
A little by luck, a little by sweat, and another because De Gea was successful, United avoided the win. Absorbed the impact. With exhausting effect for your opponent. Few teams understand the matches like Liverpool, which makes every time a case of energy management. Once the boiling phase is over, cooling has occurred. A light dosage in the pressure movements, which allowed Fred to connect with his attackers.
The replacement of Mané and Firmino by Fabinho and Origi in the absence of ten minutes ended up giving United air. James, Pereira and Martial, who touched the stick in one shot, stood out. Until in the minute 93 Alisson left a corner against a remote control shipment to Salah. The Egyptian endured James’s sticky marking and beat De Dea on his way out. He celebrated by taking off his shirt before The Kop. It was delirium. The Premier leader added 1,001 days without losing at home and already takes 16 points to the City with one less game.
Marcus Rashford will be between two and three months off due to a double back stress fracture and an ankle injury that will force him to go through the operating room, according to The times. English international and great emerging figure of United, at age 22 Rashford fulfilled his most productive season as an extreme when physical problems stopped him dry in the past Christmas.